Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day 342 - Mortar and Pestle

Day 342. 

Julie & Julia makes a pretty big deal out of the mortar and pestle. Chex Max Bugnard calls it a "must have" in the kitchen, even though I've never found myself needing one in my cooking expeditions.

I mean, it's basically just a bowl with smashing stick, right? What's all the hubub about? Paul even gives Julia a mortar and pestle for Valentine's Day and it's supposed to be super sweet and thoughtful or something. Just seems like a shitty gift to me. Whatever happened to good 'ol fashioned diamonds, huh? (or pearls)

But anyways, this little mortar/pestle 1-2 punch comes back multiple times throughout the film, leading me to believe that it has some kind of significance that I'm just not seeing.

I don't get why it's such a big deal. If you've got to mush something up, what's wrong with a spoon? Or a nutcracker? Or two rocks? (though I guess that's what a mortar and pestle is). The only time I've ever used a mortar and pestle is to grind up cornflakes in preschool as some kind of hand-eye coordination activity. Does Julia use her mortar and pestle to grind up cornflakes? Pressing questions with no apparent answers.

Maybe its a phallic symbol? Or rather, a marriage of phallic and yonic imagery, where the act of inserting the pestle into the mortar stands in for the act of sexual intercourse. This interpretation would go well with the happy marriage/relations themes in Julie & Julia. The pestle pounds away at the insides of the mortar until the contents are turned into a finely ground powder... ah fuck it, this metaphor makes no sense. I guess I'm just trying to find deeper meaning in something that has none.

Just like another blogger...

Mortars and pestles are just dumb.


Julie & Julia
Quote of the Day: "There's her famous mortar and pestle."


  1. You can use mortars and pestles make the best mojitos and caipirinhas. Maybe its presence is referring to Julia's alcoholism?

  2. maybe the mortar and pestle represents the conflict between what you want in life and what you need to do (i.e. your dreams of being a writer and your commitment to watching a shitty movie every day for a year), and how caught between these opposing forces the individual just gets grinded down until they become something completely different to how they started. but not necessarily worse.

    nah j/k it's definitely sex

  3. wait, so you americans know what caipirinhas are?
    except for Larry, he's korean or something.

  4. "even though I've never found myself needing one in my cooking expeditions."

    Looking at your noble attempts to recreate recipes from Julie & Julia, maybe you shouldn't treat your cooking expeditions as the norm.

  5. Just wanted to alert the media....

    Julie & Julia is coming on Lifetime tonight 6pm Pacific time!

    I know what I'm watching. :)

  6. I never noticed the mortar & pestle in the film and I'm glad you wrote about it. I own three small ones and they are handy.

  7. I guess none of you are into gastronomy at all. For a real cook the mortar & pestle as well a high end cooper bowl are the greatest gift we can received. They are not just item to decorate a counter and make your friends believe that you cook, we actually use them and cherish and our greatest possessions.

  8. They where and are important before things like prepacked spices came around that how you would grind them to a pulp also it was one If julias prized posetions. You must never forget that his is French quzeen not a hot pocet in the microwave sorry bad joke. If you look through one of her cook books it does refer to it in some recipeis.

  9. I cannot believe of some claiming to be a "foodie" not knowing that like Anonymous 6/7 said the mortar and pestle is one of the greatest gift a real cook can received. I got my first high end cooper bowl as a graduation gift form culinary school and it is my most cherish possession, and I have been looking to get a replica of Julia's mortar and pestle.

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